Metro recently outlined various details around the launch of the new Comet service which, amongst other things, curiously includes the chance to win a flying lesson valued at $140 if you travel on it, using Metrocard, before 30 November (!!!).
Beginning in late October, and operated by Go Bus, the Comet runs from Papanui to Hornby, via Bishopdale, the Airport, and Avonhead. Service frequency is every 30 minutes off-peak and every 15 minutes at peak.
The Comet provides a direct connection between the Selwyn Star services at Hornby, and the Northern Star services at Papanui, which brings airport etc commercial areas within one free transfer and a more direct service for people in the growing northern and southern areas (as opposed to having to go via the city centre).
Good news, and a good response to changing living and travel patterns, it will be interesting to see how successful this will be. Getting people to use public transport will take more than just new services though; poor, inadequate, and unsafe, layouts and facilities at Hornby and Papanui transfer areas is a significant barrier. Imagine having quality cycle lock-ups at both transfer points, and how beneficial that might be for Comet patronage (and all other services, especially the Orbiter). The same goes for other key interchange points, such as Riccarton and Linwood. Perhaps those suburban interchanges need to be looked at again now that travel patterns have changed?